10 African teams, others battle for Imagine cup at St Petersburg

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By EEMEKA AGINAM, in St Petersburg
The 2013 edition of Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition, the football World Cup equivalent in software design attracted no fewer than 309 students from 71 countries who have gathered in St. Petersburg, Russia to compete in three main categories like World Citizenship, Games and Innovation.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition where students to use their imagination and passion to create a technology solution in one of the Microsoft competitions and challenges.

Meanwhile, more than 60% of projects on showcase at the ongoing 2013 Microsoft Imagine students’ software competition were housed in the cloud through windows Azure,

The Windows Azure marketplace is an online market for buying, and selling finished software as a service (SaaS) applications and premium data.

This is even as four software incubators from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilefe, (OAU) and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (Lautech) Ogbomoso, Oyo respectively are  flying Nigerian flag in St Petersburg, Russia in the ongoing worldwide finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup software competition.

10 African teams on showcase:

However, out   of the 87 finalists teams currently competition, 10 teams are from Africa, including Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Botswana , Tunisia among others

From left: Akinlaja Solomon, Oluwole Michael, Afolabi Olamide and Adewale Adeyinka  at the presentation of prizes to Team Lifesaver, National Winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition held in Lagos before their departure to Rusia. Photo By EMEKA AGINAM

From left: Akinlaja Solomon, Oluwole Michael, Afolabi Olamide and Adewale Adeyinka at the presentation of prizes to Team Lifesaver, National Winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition held in Lagos before their departure to Rusia. Photo By EMEKA AGINAM

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition where students to use their imagination and passion to create a technology solution in one of the Microsoft competitions and challenges.

More than $1m in cash and prices are  available to student competitors. Over the past ten years, more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the Imagine Cup.

Team Nigeria:

With great supports from National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dell, Nokia and  MainOne, members of Team Life Saver from Nigeria  including Afolabi Olamide, Oluwole Michael, Akinlaja Solomon and Adewale Adeyinka   had competed in  the national finals  in the category of World Citizenship.

Application developed:

The team developed an application called CardioLife, which helps prevent heart attacks by monitoring heart readings on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone.

The team’s solution which   provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using the Kinect sensor Nigeria team has developed an application called CardioLife, which helps prevent heart attacks by monitoring heart readings on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone. It also provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using the Kinect sensor.

Accordingly, the software incubators from Nigeria and 309 students from 71 countries who have advanced in this competition from local, online and regional finals are currently showcasing their creativity, ingenuity and technological prowess.

For one thing, African representatives will have a world stage on which to highlight the role the continent’s local developers play in addressing the most critical issues of the developing world.

It would be recalled that the Developer and Platform Evangelism Lead, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Mr. Shina Oyetosho had told the Team Nigeria during a farewell party before their departure for the competition  to make the country proud  by showing their best innovation.

“Do not be intimidated by  students from other countries. You are the best. Do your best. Show your best. Show your passion. Make friends. Dell, Nokia, NITDA and MainOne have given you the tools. Microsoft has given you the opportunity and knowledge. Bring the Cup to Nigeria” he said.

Earlier in in his remarks during Press and Sponsor’s reception, President, Central and Estern Europe of Microsoft said that students who have gathered for this competition were the winners.

According to him, the students should not relent in taking further their solution to the next level after the showcase. The competing students should be their own boss in software entrepreneurship after graduation, he said.

Highlights of projects on showcase:

Meanwhile, out of the 87 teams on showcase, 12 teams use gamification for personal improvement, including interactive learning and physical rehabilitation.

This is even as 90% of finalist games were created for the Windows OS, showing the popularity of the PC as a gaming platform for young developers.

While more than 30% of all projects focused on inspiring fun, 36% of teams use Windows, Windows phone and Windows Azure together crossing platforms and devices to show how software can make hardware interesting.

Even  as 38 teams have Windows store apps that are or will soon be available for download, 15 teams use Microsoft technologies in projects that monitor the well being of people and things in real life time, such as heart ratem sun exposure and bee hive health.

Interesting, all three Windows 8 challenge apps combine education and fun, including a social tourist guide and an interactive vocabulary.

Similarly, 10 innovative projects combine the NET framework, Windows 8 and Windows Azure to boost productivity.

Health solution:

Nearly 40% of world citizenship teams use technology in innovative ways in the medical field, with more than half of those using the Kinect SDK.

What is new?:

Imagine Cup centers around three Competitions: World Citizenship, Games and Innovation. This new structure builds on the elements that have been so popular with students in the past 10 years — social impact and gaming while expanding the competition’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship

First-place prizes for World Citizenship, Games and Innovation will each be $50,000.  This year, there will be no elimination rounds at the Worldwide Finals.

Instead, all Worldwide Finalist teams will remain in the competition until winners are announced on the last day of the event. In addition, students competing in online Challenges that advance to the Worldwide Finals will compete onsite for first, second and third place.

Students can compete in the World Citizenship, Innovation and Games Competitions or technology Challenges that lead to the Worldwide Finals for Windows Azure, Windows Phone or Windows 8, or in themed Challenges such as the Women’s Athletics App Challenge or the Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge that result in other awards and prizes and do not include a trip to the Worldwide Finals.

How it works:

Students compete in teams of up to four people in Competitions including World Citizenship, Games and Innovation, and in online Challenges focused on specific technologies and platforms, including Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone.

Students advance through various rounds of the competition either online or through in-person local finals events until they are selected to compete at the Worldwide Finals, where winners will be awarded travel, cash prizes and partnership awards totaling more than $1 million

Fast Facts:

This is the 11th year of Imagine Cup — it started in 2003 with just 2,000 students from 25 countries. This year’s motto is “Dream it. Build it. Live it.”

This marks the third year of the three-year Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants program. This year, teams with projects that focus on social good can apply at the end of calendar year 2013 to be part of the $3 million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality.

Competitions:

Competitions span the full year and are the cornerstone competitions for Imagine Cup, requiring students to create complete applications built on Microsoft technology. They can be presented in person at local finals events or submitted online in countries without in-person events; finalists advance to compete at the Worldwide Finals.

World Citizenship.

The Imagine Cup World Citizenship Competition honors the software application with the greatest potential to make a positive contribution to the betterment of humanity. An entrant in the World Citizenship Competition might tackle a vexing social or medical problem, promote education or generally harness the power of technology to enrich lives. Prizes: First Place, $50,000; Second Place, $10,000; Third Place, $5,000.

Games.

The Imagine Cup Games Competition honors the best student games built on Microsoft platforms: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit and Xbox Live Indie Games. Microsoft is looking for fun, original games that are well-made and could find an enthusiastic audience. Game themes and content are up to the students, but content needs to be suitable for a broad, diverse audience. Prizes: First Place, $50,000; Second Place, $10,000; Third Place, $5,000.

Innovation.

The Imagine Cup Innovation Competition honors apps that deliver technology innovations that advance user experiences in major categories such as social networks, search, classifieds or online shopping — or that create entirely new categories. Prizes: First Place, $50,000; Second Place, $10,000; Third Place, $5,000.

Online Challenges

Challenges provide an opportunity for students to participate in Imagine Cup by learning, prototyping and creating applications using the newest Microsoft technologies. They occur online only, and the top three teams in each category will attend the Worldwide Finals to compete for first-, second- or third-place awards

The Windows 8 App Challenge.

This Challenge will test a team’s ability to design and build a Windows Store app that takes advantage of Windows 8 features and design principles to deliver an exceptional experience on the platform. Prizes: First Place, $10,000; Second Place, $5,000; Third Place, $3,000.  The Windows Phone Challenge. This Challenge seeks the best apps that feature startling functionality and device- focused utility combined with a delightful Windows Phone user experience. Prizes: First Place, $10,000; Second Place, $5,000; Third Place, $3,000.

The Windows Azure Challenge

This Challenge is about getting a team started on the “next big thing” by leveraging Azure platform features to build a Web application. Prizes: First Place, $10,000; Second Place, $5,000; Third Place, $3,000.

Brain Games Challenge:

In this Challenge, individuals compete in a monthly trivia quiz. Each quiz will have six rounds of timed questions as well as a topic such as innovation or citizenship. The top score for the month wins $1,000 and everyone who competes enters a sweepstakes where one winner will get a free trip to St. Petersburg.

Imagine Cup Grant program:

Now in its third year, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Grant program awards cash, software, and access to resources to a select number of Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalists who are looking to take the next step and bring their solution to market to realize its potential to solve a critical global problem

The Imagine Cup Grants are part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth over the next 3 years. The Imagine Cup Grants highlight student creativity and innovation and provides a springboard for taking their projects to the next level.

Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. Often referred to as the ‘Oscars of Innovation’, it serves as the platform for the brightest young minds across the world to assemble under one roof with a common motive – to create a better tomorrow with the help of software technology.

Ever since its inaugural launch in 2003, Microsoft Imagine Cup has seen ten venues (right from Barcelona, Spain to Sydney Australia), 1.65 million participants and thousands of ground breaking software applications and games committed to help improve education, healthcare, environment and more.

Over the past ten years, more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the Imagine Cup. When you join the Imagine Cup community, you’ll connect with other whip-smart creative from all over the world to share ideas, have fun, and be there when the next big thing is unveiled.

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